By Jessica Mathews/

State health officials have been invited to testify at a joint legislative committee hearing next week centered on a state order prohibiting student contact sports during the winter season.

A joint hearing of the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee and the House Education Committee will be held next Tuesday at noon to discuss the impact of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration’s cancellation of student athletics. The state has postponed the start of several contact-sports seasons through February 21st. Some of the banned sports include wrestling, basketball, hockey and competitive cheer.

Republican State Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township chairs the Senate Committee while Republican State Representative Pam Hornberger of Chesterfield Township chairs the House Committee. A press release states the pair has invited Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun to testify, as well as the Michigan High School Athletic Association and Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.

Governor Whitmer has pointed to the emergence of a more contagious virus variant as a cause for concern. However, spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said last week that the governor is optimistic that they can take steps towards re-engagement in sports, just like they are doing with indoor dining, and is reviewing the safest steps forward with public health experts.

The committee meeting will take place in the Senate Hearing Room of the Boji Tower in Lansing. It will also be streamed live. A link is provided.